Supporting your mental health through coronavirus and beyond

By Raspberry Jim,

Life has changed pretty dramatically in the past two months, hasn’t it.

We’ve gone from enjoying unlimited socialising, trips away, holidays, walks, eating out and shopping, to living behind closed doors, shut away from loved ones, and limited to a few walks a day.

That drastic change is inevitably going to have an impact on anyone’s mental health.

Whether it’s moments of frustration, anxiety, stress, or just sadness for the distance between you and your family, I’m sure we’ve all felt it in our own way.

But with lockdown in Wales in this capacity ongoing for at least the next two weeks, and life beyond that predicted to be changed irreversibly due to coronavirus, how can we support our mental health to adapt to this change?

Here’s a few things our Communications Manager Gemma has been practicing over the last few weeks to support her mental health.

Be thankful

It sounds like an illogical concept when you feel like you’ve lost so much, but taking two minutes to be grateful for what you have really does go a long way.

Your health, access to food, a loving family, a garden, a safe home – whatever you are thankful for, it’s important to take a minute to remember it.

In this time of intense pressure and stress, it can be all too easy to give in to the negativity. But it’s hugely beneficial for your mental health to remember the positives.

Everyone will have moments of upset, worry, and frustration – and that’s perfectly fine. But when those creep up, just remind yourself that this too shall pass.

Take time for you

Whether you’re working from home, or juggling parenting and working, it can be easy to fall into a stressful Groundhog Day-style routine which leaves no time for you.

Creating time for yourself can be challenging when you have responsibilities, as a working parent I can totally appreciate the constant balancing act of childcare and work.

With all that in mind it can be easy to forget to recharge and relax.

That is more important than ever now, with this pandemic blurring the lines between our home and work life.

If you’re working from home create a designated workspace that you can leave behind at the end of the day and switch off from the office when your shift is done. Don’t get stuck in front of the TV for hours (although if that’s how you relax go for it), read a book, go for a walk, take a bath – enjoy some quality you time. 

If you’ve got children, ‘me’ time is rare. Ensure you work with your partner to get the time you need to unwind and reinvigorate yourself. 

Getting outdoors

Hands up, who’s currently loving their time outside? 

One of the positives to emerge from this extremely challenging time, is that we’ve all developed a greater appreciation for the outdoors. 

Daily walks, runs, cycles, (whatever your preference) have provided an escape in more ways than one. 

Not only does this enable you to get some essential exercise, it breaks up the potential monotony of the daily routine and provides some much-needed mental relief. 

Getting out in the fresh air and stretching your legs can promote a greater sense of wellbeing, boost energy, and promote positivity and relaxation. 

And even a little bit can go a long way! 

Research shows that just two 15 minute sessions can significantly help mental wellbeing. 

Stay connected

Now more than ever it’s crucial we stay in touch with our family and friends.

With millions of people unable to see their loved ones this could lead to feelings of upset, frustration and anxiety.

Thankfully, social distancing has led to an explosion in the popularity of online video technology and apps like Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, and House Party.

Staying connected with your family and friends in this way is vital to supporting your mental health during this time when you can’t physically be together.

A reassuring chat, a family quiz, or a quick catch up are certain to enhance your mood and help support you in the weeks to come.

Be Kind

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme is kindness and it couldn’t be more appropriate given the situation we find ourselves in. Take a moment to be kind to yourself, your loved ones and those in your wider community.

As Mark Rowland, CEO of Mental Health Foundation, says of the theme: “We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health. Wisdom from every culture across history recognises that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practise to be fully alive.”

Kindness costs nothing, but to someone else it means everything. If you’re feeling low, doing one kind gesture can instantly lift your mood.

Tying in with this year’s theme jamjar has launched its Seven Day Kindness Challenge, with a different kindness-focussed task each day. We hope it’ll provide you with inspiration for some small acts of kindness that will go a long way.

We know it’s tough, at times challenging, and stressful right now, but don’t forget, you’re not alone. Being thankful for the small things, taking time for you, getting outdoors, staying connected and being kind can really go a long way.

Gemma Gwilym is  our communications manager here at jamjar. With over 10 years’ experience throughout the media industry as a journalist, production journalist, copywriter, and now a PR, Gemma is ideally placed to identify a great news angle, add a dash of creativity, and get your story published. At jamjar she oversees clients including Sony UK Technology Centre,  Cardiff Bus, ScoutsCymru, Loteri Cymru, Traveline Cymru, Oil 4 Wales, and Life Science Hub Wales. To find out more about Gemma’s jam visit https://jamjar.agency/inside/

New awards launched to shine the spotlight on STEM in Wales

By Raspberry Jim,


A new awards scheme has been launched to shine the spotlight on those making a difference to, and championing, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) in Wales.

Entries for the inaugural Wales STEM Awards are now open, with the ceremony due to take place on 1st May 2020 at City Hall in Cardiff.

The awards have been established to celebrate those leading the sector in Wales, those businesses creating an impact on the Welsh economy, those addressing the STEM diversity gap and skills shortage, and those inspiring and raising aspirations of the next generation.

There are fifteen categories to enter:

STEM Start-Up of the Year
STEM Scale-Up of the Year
STEM Educational Programme of the Year
STEM International Business of the Year
STEM Environmental Initiative of the Year
Innovation in Science Award
Innovation in Technology Award
Innovation in Engineering Award
Innovation in Mathematics Award
STEM Rising Star of the Year
STEM Woman of the Year
STEM Leader of the Year
STEM Company of the Year (0-25 employees)
STEM Company of the Year (26-250- employees)
STEM Company of the Year (251+)


Despite one in five new jobs in the UK being STEM jobs by 2022, research from STEM Learning shows that 89% of STEM businesses are struggling to recruit. With Wales needing more STEM professionals, the Awards have been endorsed by Welsh Government. 

Lee Waters AM, Deputy Minister for Economy & Transport, said:

“STEM is a key Welsh Government priority and we are committed to ensuring that all learners have an equal opportunity to reach the highest standards in science, technology and maths.  I welcome the inaugural Wales STEM Awards and its celebration of the importance of STEM and Wales’ STEM stars – inspiring and raising aspirations of the next generation.”

Dr Louise Bright, head judge and founder of Wales Women in STEM network, said:

“STEM subjects are vital to innovation and productivity in Wales. STEM helps us to accelerate economic development and tackle some of the biggest challenges facing us today, including sustainability and renewal energy. Our STEM skills gap needs to be addressed for Wales to reach its full potential and these awards are one way of shining a light on excellence in STEM in Wales. Addressing the shortage of STEM skills in Wales is key to a healthier and vibrant future.”

Integrated, multi-discipline professional advisory business GS Verde Group, which comprises law firm Greenaway Scott, corporate finance boutique Verde Corporate Finance and patent attorney firm Alchemie IP, has become headline sponsor of the awards. Director Rhian Osborne said:

“Our work with STEM businesses proves there is a lot to be celebrated here in Wales. The industries are moving at a fast pace and there is a great deal of talent here. If we want to put Wales on the map, we need to promote the STEM businesses, initiatives, careers and education on offer here and these awards are a great way of doing that. We’re delighted to be sponsoring the inaugural Wales STEM Awards. We’re looking forward to celebrating all those championing STEM in Wales.”

Other sponsors include Box UK, Cardiff Metropolitan University, CPS Group, Development Bank of Wales and Rolls-Royce.

The inaugural Wales STEM Awards are being jointly organised by Grapevine Event Management and communications agency jamjar. Liz Brookes of Grapevine Event Management said:

“We need to be in a better position to home-grow our STEM talent in Wales but it cannot be left to government or schools alone – businesses have a crucial role to play too. We felt that while there is some great work being done to champion STEM in Wales, there was nothing being done to shine the spotlight on this work to inspire the next generation. These Awards aim to do this, by bringing the business community together for the first time to recognise those entrepreneurial and innovative ventures that are making a difference to the STEM sector.”

The deadline for entries into the Wales STEM Awards close on 28 February 2020.

For more information visit www.STEMAwards.Wales 

The importance of work experience

By Raspberry Jim,


Olivia Brayley recently joined us at jamjar from Swansea University as part of an internship programme. Here, she gives us her insight on why she found her work-experience at jamjar so rewarding and how it has helped her as she prepares to make the big jump onto the career ladder. For anyone about to graduate or considering a career in a creative industry, this is a must-read.

As the end of university looms, lecturers are constantly talking about employability. At first, I thought they were saying it just because they had to. But, since starting a placement at jamjar, I can see exactly why they encourage it so much.

With thousands of students graduating with media, PR and communication degrees across the UK every year, all seeking jobs in the same competitive market, the pressure is on to find a way to set yourself apart from all the other applicants.


So, why is work experience so important?

Employability plays a major part in securing jobs after university, especially in a career which can be somewhat unconventional. The media industry is ever-changing, with no two days the same, so gaining work experience prior to getting your first graduate job will prepare you for what you’ll likely be doing after university.

The tasks that media professionals carry out will undoubtedly vary, stretching from blog and social media posts to press releases and crisis communications. Working at jamjar, and being able to gain so much versatile experience, has made me so much more comfortable with the idea of what my future job will be like.


How can you benefit?

Although it’s easy to think ‘maybe next week’ or ‘I’m too busy right now’, the time, resources and University support you have at your disposal as a student makes it the perfect time to boost your CV.

Interning is such a good way to gain first-hand industry experience and is a world away from the theory and essay writing you’ll learn at university. Of course, having those written communication skills are still essential, but adapting those skills to the real working-world is exactly why work experience is key.

Working with a group of people that you don’t know also really helps to boost your confidence, as well as develop your communication skills, which will help you to be less apprehensive when you attend job interviews.


Go with the flow

Before I started my internship, I was hesitant about doing things outside of my comfort zone. But working with jamjar has taught me that stepping outside of my comfort zone is the best thing you can do. I even ended up in a promotional video! Learning lessons like this before you start work in the industry shows the need of work experience.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and take chances – it may not feel like it at the time, but it honestly helps with your progress and development.


Make sure it’s what you want out of a career

The great thing about work experience is that you get to try out an industry before you commit to it. This way, you can be 100% sure that you’re going into a career that is right for you.

I feel much more comfortable with the thought of life after university and can honestly say it is because my work experience placement has prepared me, and given me the confidence, to take the next step in my career.

So, if you get the chance to intern or gain work experience, go for it!  

World Kindness Day 2019

By Raspberry Jim,


Wednesday 13th November is annual World Kindness Day and so, here at jamjar, we were inspired to do something to spread a little kindness in the world.

We think it’s super important to uplift and help other women, which is why, we have decided to jam with WINGS Cymru, a local charity with an ethos that we love: ‘Women In Need Getting Support’ (WINGS),

Based in Bridgend, WINGS Cymru are an award-winning community group who campaign for positive change for women. They do incredible work supporting teenagers that struggle with period poverty by donating menstrual products to schools in the local area.

So, what exactly is period poverty?

Period Poverty includes the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities and waste management (source: Global Citizen). With more than 137,700 girls in the UK missing school last year because they can’t afford sanitary products, it’s an issue that can not be ignored.

At the beginning of this year, the Welsh Government passed the Period Dignity Grant for schools, which made strides towards ending period poverty in Wales.

“We’re committed to tackling this inequality in Wales and this funding will help make period products available to learners in all schools, free of charge and in the most dignified way possible”

Kirsty Williams via Welsh Government


Even though steps are being made in Wales to help tackle the issue, we think there is no limit as to how much help these girls are given.


So why not join us and try to do something kind this November 13th.

Even if it’s giving a compliment to your friend, treating someone to a coffee or donating some old clothes to a charity shop, the world will feel like a better place because of your kindness!

For more information on WINGS Cymru, visit their website: wingscymru.co.uk.

How to use typefaces effectively

By Anna Jarvis,



Have you ever wondered about the significance of the style of words you use within your branding? Or how the use of a particular typeface or font can convey different messages to your customer? Come to think of it, what is the difference between a typeface and a font? Don’t worry, we’re going to delve into the world of fonts and typefaces to help you figure it all out.


What is the difference between ‘font’ and ‘typeface’?

Typeface originally meant a particular design of type, while font is a type in a particular size and weight. Typeface encompasses many fonts, however, because of the advancement of digital design you’ll often hear them used interchangeably, hence the confusion around the meanings.


Serif vs sans serif: What’s the difference?

A serif has a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter. And so sans serif, quite literally means without (sans) a serif.

Example of a serif font (left) and a sans serif font (right)


And what does the font say about your brand?

First impressions are incredibly important in the world of branding so make sure your typeface reflects what your brand stands for. Typically, serif is considered more traditional whilst sans-serif is considered to be more modern and current. If your brand has heritage and tradition, consider a serif style, but if you’re wanting to project that your brand is forward thinking and innovative, consider using a sans serif style.


Key typefaces

The most popular and recognisable serif typefaces are:

The most popular and recognisable sans serif typefaces are:

Sans serif is perceived to be easier to read on screens which is why, in this digital age, it has become so popular, even moving into logos.

Many big brands have also moved to use a sans-serif style in recent years to make their logos more digitally viable but also to project a clean and modern style. Here are some big brand examples from the luxury world who have followed this trend:

Old (left) and new (right) Burberry logo
Old (left) and new Diane von Furstenberg logo

Banks have also been following suit, keen to shake their old, traditional images. A new logo using a sans-serif typeface projects a contemporary and fresh feel:

So how about the ones you shouldn’t use…? Do you remember Comic Sans, Kristen and Curlz from your school days? No matter what you’re designing, they’ll always make your designs look ‘childish’. While they’re not quite sophisticated enough for the adult world, they’re the perfect fit for school text books.

Here’s a great graphic we found which shows what big brand logos would look like in Comic Sans…they don’t quite have the same gravitas, right?

Image via lingoapp.com


Despite the simple generalisation that is made between the usage of serif and sans serif, there are always exceptions to the rule and it’s important to use design to challenge perceptions and conventions meaning you can challenge the norm by creating a stylish, modern look using a serif typeface and vice-versa.

In fact, be a trend-setter not a trend-follower and take a leaf right out of the pages of the biggest trendsetter around. VOGUE. A cool, timeless and stylish brand that thinks that serif works perfectly well for them, thank you very much.

Image via vogue.co.uk


Jam with us!

We could chat about typefaces and fonts all day long and so let us know if you need any support or advice in updating your logo and branding, we’d love to jam with you. Get in touch!

Anna is our zen master designer with an eye for detail. If it’s branding, print or digital graphics you’re after – she’s your font-tastic fairy godmother and knows how to make a creative project ‘pop’!

How to reduce stress and increase health and happiness in the workplace

By Raspberry Jim,


To coincide with World Mental Health Day, we decided to take a breather here at jamjar HQ and put the kettle on for a chat as part of the Mental Health Foundation’s Tea & Talk initiative.

“Talking is good for your mental health…People who are more socially connected to family, friends, colleagues or their community are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected.”

Mental Health Foundation


What is Stress?

Put simply, stress is our body’s response to pressures from a situation or life event.


What are the warning signs that you’re experiencing too much stress?

  • Feeling anxious and irritable
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Problems concentrating
  • Eating more or less that usual


Here are some ways to help alleviate stress in the workplace:


Form positive relationships – Chat to your co-workers, share your thoughts and get things off your chest. Annie McKee, in her book How to be Happy at Work, says that:

“Happiness matters at work as much as it does in our personal lives. And when we are happy, we are more successful.”


Organise your day – Prioritise tasks and delegate when you can. Taking on too much is a sure trigger for feeling stressed.

Take a break – Plan regular breaks throughout the day. Stop, take a deep breath and put the kettle on. Problems seem more manageable when you’ve had a little time to think and process. Perhaps even take some time to do some desk chair meditation. Not heard of it before?

Do you have one minute and seven seconds right now? Let’s do a mini meditation from Headspeace:


Keep moving – At lunch go for a walk and get some natural light. Even if it’s just a short walk around the block. Walks through out the day are a way to alleviate stress. Perhaps even try a walking meditation? Take a look at some suggestions here.

Eat well – Reduce sugar to avoid energy crashes in the day which can make you feel low and avoid stimulants like caffeine or nicotine. Pop out and get some decaf coffee for the team’s 3pm cuppa.

Sweet dreams – Aim for eight-hours of sleep a night and try and avoid looking at your phone in the hour before you want to go to sleep.

Here at jamjar the well-being of our team is very important and we always strive to make sure that we are supporting each other in every way we can.

In fact, we have a little jar of mindfulness that you can dip into when you need a little pick-me-up and a reminder of how valued and fabulous you are.


If you have any concerns about anything discussed in this blog, please visit MindCymru or any other Mental Health Charity who are ready to offer you support.